Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter in Paris

I'm off to Paris for a week, so I will be sketching around the city while Jerry attends a World Seafood Summit. Being January, the weather looks to be not unlike Maine—cold, rainy and even a bit of snow. There may be a lot of cafe sketching, but it's Paris!

The above sketch was done late last night from a photo I found on the internet before I packed my paints and sketchbooks.

Au Revior

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mail Me Art 2

The cold and snow of winter in Maine has kept me inside so I decided to enter the Mail Me Art Two project with an envelope I found laying around in the office. Rangda, the "Black Magic Woman" of Balinese mythology was my subject with her outrageous costume, long tangled hair and those great hands. It's going in the mail today.

Jacqueline upside down

I recently visited Joanne's Journey into Art and read her post about working upside down and saw her amazing watercolor painted with the reference image upside down. I had also seen the talented Andrea Joseph do this exercise. My curiosity finally got the best of me. So last night as the rain pelted against the windows I sat in front of the fire and tried it. I turned an old black and white photo of my mom circa the 1940's and quickly sketched with a pencil on a cream colored textured paper. It actually looks like her (and a little like Betty Crocker). Great fun exercise that I will continue to explore.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Little town in the mountains

We took a hike in the mountains of Bedugul Bali and had to walk through this little cluster of houses to get to the trail. A traditional Balinese neighborhood close to the village overlooking the lake. We heard that the house on the point was for sale—real cheap and Jerry got it in his mind that we should buy it—What?

Of course, once we did the research we found that you had to buy a larger parcel of land than originally stated. The land was all terraced and planted with vegetables, accessible by a stone stairway that leads to the lake. As we were looking out over the lake a woman came by with a huge basket on her head and dumped it down the stairs. We then found out that that is where the entire neighborhood dumped their garbage and if we wanted that to stop we would have to deal with officials and find an alternative dumping ground. We have subsequently moved on...

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Bali cat update

Before we left, my newest Bali cat recovered from her operation and finished her meds. She started to feel like her old self which meant her wild side showed. She would spend much of the day as close to us as possible, but that meant our other cat was at risk. I realized that she would have to go back to the Bonsai Cafe where she has lived most of her life. She has food, shelter and lots of human contact, but now she will not have litter after litter of unwanted kittens.

Her last night at the villa, I let her sleep curled up at my feet. In the morning, she got a can of Friskies, I put her back in the totebag and in the basket for the 3 mile bicycle ride back to the Bonsai Cafe. At the cafe, I let her out and she scampered off never looking back. She is back where I first found her, sleeping on one of the chairs at the cafe, curled up in the eaves of the thatched roof or having some food from the kitchen or at one of the tables on the beach. I will check on her when I go back.

A dark and stormy night

It started to snow last night and continued through most of today. The city is now blanketed with 12 inches of fresh snow. Last night, I sat at the dining room table in front of the fire watching the snow and messing around with pens, paint and crayons.

I don't love snow or actually this painting much. Both are a bit of a mess!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's cold here

We are back in Maine and on top of serious jet-lag we are seriously cold! It was 6° the other morning. I am having a bit of a time trying to find my creative muse in my new surroundings. My palette of colors for sketching is quite different here. Gone are all the rich greens and bright warm tropical colors and back to wintery blues, browns and grays.

From our deck we can see the sun come up over the Casco Bay, so I can sneak in a bit of orange. This is a very quick sketch looking east yesterday morning.

EDM #253 Draw your socks. Now that we are back in Maine I have dug out the hats, gloves and boots. Digging through the sock drawer I found these fleece socks. I curled up in front of the fire with Sophie and sketched these.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sampai jumpa Bali

I put out my last offerings this morning. I doubled up on the incense enjoying the floral smell that fills the air in Bali. I have devised a way to make daily offerings in the US with a little help from my Bali friends. So, very soon my offerings will be perched on a snow bank.

Sampai jumpa Bali

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bali—"Island of the gods"

We were taking a hike with a friend in Bedugul, Bali and we stopped at four temples nestled in the mountains, connected by a trail, deep in the jungle. I pondered and then asked "how many temples do you think there are in Bali?" Of course, the answer in hundreds of thousands. Bali has more temples than houses as every house shrine is actually a temple. From large sacred temples to the smallest temples or shrines they are everywhere. It is why Bali is called "island of the gods".

This walled-in temple is at the end of our street at the mouth of an estuary. A little rundown and overgrown, but quite beautiful in the early morning light. Everyday I see people placing offerings at the statue in the center under the umbrellas.

This small temple is at the base of a waterfall in Bedugul. In amongst dense vegetation there is a small statue with two old weathered umbrellas.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Canang sari

A few weeks ago we had our priest/friend Pak Astika and his wife Made come to the villa to perform a purification ceremony to banish the evil spirits that were hanging around. This was done with offerings which are a small square palm leaf basket filled with flowers and other goodies, a stick of incense is then lighted to allow the offerings to float up to the gods.

I needed to get the five elements for the ceremony—fire (incense), water (new), flowers, fruit and rice. So off I went to see my friend Suni at "So Clean Laundry". She does 35 offerings a day so I knew she would be able to help. She went to the local market and the next day I picked up incense (everyday and special) and the lovely smelling special full moon flowers. The rest I had. That night Astika and Made presented 7 offerings at strategic (most holy and/or important) points around the villa.

Statue outside our bedroom in the garden with the canang sari (offering).

Since then I have been doing four offerings a day. I get on my bike and ride to see my new friend Ilu who makes and sells the canang sari. I enjoy the act of placing them, lighting the incense and thinking about the spiritual aspect of thanking the forces of the invisible world for their gifts to our human society. It is peaceful.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

One Cat, Two Cat, Old Cat, New Cat—Part 1

Kuging manja (spoiled cat). My first Bali cat brought to the villa last April by our friend Uul to take care of our mouse problem. I had her spayed two days later when a herd of tomcats were pacing the walls checking out the cute new young girl in town. A bit of a “cranky fur pants” she has her moments of being loving and sweet, but it’s on her terms.

Kucing baru (new cat). I found this cat at a Bonsai Café on the beach. With all four paws she was standing on the edge of a garbage can eating. She came by our table later for handouts. I asked who she belonged to and everyone shrugged their shoulders and said “the café”. I fretted about her for several days. Two days ago I jumped on my bike road three miles to the beach, put her in a totebag and then in the basket on my bike and road back three miles to the vet to have her spayed. She is upstairs recovering, eating canned food and drinking Evian water. She is very sweet and loves attention. Because of her scrappy life, her fur is a bit of a mess and she doesn’t have all her teeth.

She needs a name.

Kucing malas (lazy cat). We named our tiny mouser Tikus, but we now call her Howard. She has this Howard Hughes cleaning phobia. Spending an inordinate amount of time cleaning after a day of sleeping. So far she has caught one mouse and was quite pleased with herself so she just fell asleep at the scene of the kill basking in her glory.

Kucing Baru (new cat). Managed to climb up into the ceiling rafters, over the AC unit and slide down the wall onto Jerry’s desk and computer. So much for recovering from surgery and isolating hissing cats. Now they stare at each other through the glass doors. She has put on weight, her fur is getting smooth and she is settling in to her new life—JACKPOT!

One Cat, Two Cat, Old Cat, New Cat—Part 2

Kucing manja (spoiled cat). Before a day of sleeping and cleaning she insisted that Maria, our housekeeper, hold her while she swept.

Kucing Baru (new cat). Unbeknownst to Howard she slept on the couch in the living room this afternoon.

Blue moon over Bali

December 31, 2009 was a full moon and that is always a celebration for the Balinese. Add New Years Eve and and a rare blue moon occurrence and it was a celebration like I've never seen. The entire island was celebrating. Flowers, fireworks, noisemakers, champagne and dancing to the wee hours of 2010. I haven't stayed out that late in decades...

Selamat Tahun Baru